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Mastering the Pullup in 4 Steps

Look like a badass in the gym when you perfect your pullup!

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Exercises like pullups, pushups and planks are bucket-list worthy exercises for two reasons. First: They’re %$*&ing hard. Second: They require strength in muscle groups often weak in female runners—arms, core and back. Although these moves are tough, they’re not impossible. And like anything in life, if you put in the work, you will receive a great return. So, are you ready to accept the challenge?

We’ve covered how to master the push up and how to perfect your plank. Now we’ll share 4 steps to performing a pullup!

It is important that you don’t exhaust yourself in the gym by trying these exercises over and over again. Focus on the step-by-step training a few days a week to help you develop the appropriate amount of strength to master each stage of the pull up with good form.

Before you know it, you’ll be the badass chick at the gym busting out moves on the pullup bar.

Master The Pullup

Why? Pullups exemplify power and require extraordinary upper-body strength. Plus, they make for a sweet party trick!
Your challenge: Perform 1 unassisted pullup.

Complete these exercises every 2 to 3 days so your runs don’t suffer from full-body fatigue.

Two moves will get you started:
1. Develop grip strength by simply holding onto the pullup bar (palms facing away from you) with legs hanging beneath you. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and perform three to five reps. Rest as long as you need in between.
2. Follow this exercise with a few sets of chin holds. Stand on a box so that you can easily put your chin slightly above the pullup bar with palms facing away from you. Bend your knees so that you are holding up your body as your chin stays above the bar. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and do 3 to 5 reps.

Related: Medicine Ball Moves for a Great Workout

Advance your strength with negative pullups, i.e., the lower phase of the exercise. Stand on a box that allows you to easily hold your chin slightly above the bar. Bend your knees slightly so you are in a chin hold. Slowly lower yourself down below the bar until your arms are straight. Pull yourself back up as much as you can without any jerky movements. Place your feet on the box and rest until you are ready to perform another rep. Perform 4 to 6 reps (with rest) per session.

When negative pullups become comfortable, it’s time to try rows. a) Position a bar on a squat rack at waist height. Gripping the bar a bit more than shoulder-width apart, straighten your arms as you hang your body beneath the bar, feet out in front of you.
b) Pull your chest to the bar, hold for 3 seconds and then lower. Work up to three sets of 15 and you’re ready to move on.

Related: Kettlebell Core Exercises

Now it’s time to show off your hard work! a) Grip the pullup bar from a dead-hang position, palms facing away from you. Pull your body up toward the bar in a slow and controlled movement. b) Pause for a second as your chin gets close the bar and then slowly lower yourself to the starting position. Congrats! Hope you had an audience to show off your hard work!

Challenge yourself to add 1 to 2 more pullups to your set every week.

Related: Quick Strength Training for Runners